Alma Cogan (novel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Alma Cogan
Gordon Burn - Alma Cogan.jpeg
First edition, with quote from William Boyd
Author Gordon Burn
Cover artist Chris Shamwana
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Publisher Secker and Warburg
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 210
ISBN 0-436-20009-0
OCLC 53912263

Alma Cogan (ISBN 978-0-571-22284-1) is a 1991 novel by Gordon Burn, reprinted in 2004. It was Burn's first novel and won the Whitbread Book Award in 1991. In the UK it was published in 1991 with the title Alma Cogan. In the US, it was initially published as Alma. [1][2][3][4]

In real life, Alma Cogan was a well-known British light pop singer of the 1950s and early 1960s, known as "The Girl with the Giggle in Her Voice." A friend of the Beatles and many other pop acts of the era, Cogan died of cancer in 1966 at the age of 34.

Plot summary[edit]

In Burn's novel, however, Alma Cogan does not die in 1966, but retires from show business sometime thereafter to a quiet solitude near the English seashore, living neither in luxury nor poverty. In contrast to Cogan's bubbly public persona, Burn's Alma, who narrates the book from 1986, is an arch, dry-witted, highly intelligent observer of the world around her, mildly dismissive of, even jaded by, her showbiz past (but not entirely disdainful of it). She recounts with equal detachment the heady days of celebrity and the sordid backstage cruelties—including bouts of unexpected violence—as she muses on the nature of stardom and its many pitfalls, which entrap the worshipper as much as the worshipped. But her residual fame proves a gruesome and unwanted relic as it serves to tie her, through her fans, to an unforeseen encounter with evil.

Based on 'true' events[edit]

With the exception of Cogan's non-death in 1966, Alma Cogan is based largely on true events and real people.


  1. ^ "Alma Cogan". Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Alma Cogan by Gordon Burn". Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Alma Cogan: A Novel. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Alma Cogan: A Novel". Retrieved 21 October 2013.